Elizabeth I. Buechner, Anna S. Goldenhersh & Yolanda Rosado-Carrasquillo – Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Originally from Honduras, Larissa* came to Her Justice seeking help to secure permanent legal status in the U.S. after fleeing her abusive husband. A team at Morgan Lewis represented her in filing a self-petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which was approved and she obtained her lawful permanent resident status in 2013.
Although this is where most cases end, the legal challenge for Larissa was just beginning. Larissa had five children living in Honduras. One of her daughters, Aly*, age 16, was gang raped and had a baby as a result of that rape. While Aly could obtain an immigrant visa through Larissa and could come to the U.S. relatively quickly, immigration law does not allow a grandchild to be sponsored for a visa by a grandmother. This meant that Larissa’s grandson, Kevin*, would have a three year wait in Honduras for his visa to be processed. Aly, who was terribly traumatized by the rape, now had to make the difficult choice to leave her infant son in Honduras so that she could be reunited with her mother in the U.S.
At the age of two, Kevin was left in the care of family members. It quickly became apparent that he was being abused and neglected while living with these relatives. Elizabeth, Anna and Yolanda took up the cause of filing an application for Humanitarian Parole so that Kevin could reunite with his family in the U.S. immediately. Humanitarian Parole is an “extraordinary measure sparingly used”, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. The team would have to show that there was a compelling humanitarian emergency. They worked quickly to pull together an application, which was granted in the summer of 2016 and Kevin was safely back in the loving arms of his mother and grandmother.
*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality
I volunteer with Her Justice to provide legal services to those who need them the most. Everyone deserves someone to advocate for them, and Her Justice has provided me with the opportunity to change our clients’ lives for the better. Telling our client that we secured a visa for her son to join her in the United States was one of the highlights of my career so far, and I hope to have many similar opportunities in the future. Working with an organization that provides such critical legal services to women in need has been an unforgettable experience. – Elizabeth I. Buechner
Volunteering with HerJustice has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career. As a young attorney, I was looking to get actively involved in causes I cared about and hoped to find opportunities for early responsibility – that was what led me to HerJustice. Not only was the HerJustice staff helpful throughout the process, but the ability to make a difference in the lives of these families has been immeasurably gratifying. Working with HerJustice made me proud to be an attorney, and getting to assist my clients through some of their most difficult and stressful times was something I deeply value. I’m very thankful for all of the work HerJustice does, and for the opportunity to work alongside them to change lives. – Anna S. Goldenhersh
Her Justice helps women find their inner strength and get back their dignity and their life. Oddly enough, in helping these women, in what little way I can, I, in turn, have found the inner strength inside of me. I thank Her Justice for the opportunity to give of myself and get something so rich in return. – Yolanda Rosado-Carrasquillo